JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) just released its earnings report for the first quarter of 2013. And while down in the guts of it you can find some mildly unsettling news, there are three big-picture revelations investors should find immediately to their liking.
1. Record net-income
Net income for JPMorgan was $6.53 billion, up from an already stunning $5.7 billion the previous quarter, and up from $4.92 billion a year earlier. That $6.53 billion in net income works out to record earnings-per-share of $1.59.
This record income came on the back of essentially the same revenue as last year. And though that fact doesn't necessarily bode well, the fact that JPMorgan was able to ring substantially higher profit out of the same amount of revenue is impressive, and a sign of good management.
2. Rising return-on-equity
Speaking of good management, the superbank also reported a return on equity of 13%, up from 11% in the first and fourth quarters of 2012.
ROE is a commonly used measurement of management effectiveness and looks at the amount of net income a company makes with its shareholder's money. A rising ROE is one of the ways JPMorgan was able to squeeze more profit out of the same amount of revenue.
Fellow superbank and renowned money manager Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) is currently boasting an ROE of 12.89%, so JPMorgan can consider itself in excellent company on this important metric.
3. A bigger, better fortress balance sheet
JPMorgan reported Basel I Tier 1 common capital reserves of $143 billion for the first quarter of 2013, for a ratio of 10.2%. This versus Basel I Tier 1 capital reserves of $128 billion and a ratio of 9.8% for the first quarter of 2012.
CEO Jamie Dimon coined the phrase "fortress balance sheet," and takes great pride in the strengthening and touting of it, understandably so. JPMorgan came through the financial crisis in such excellent condition because of Dimon's great aversion to risk and his focus on the upkeep of the bank's balance sheet.
Foolish bottom line
Quarter after quarter, JPMorgan continues to perform at the highest level, even given continuing challenging economic conditions and an already softening mortgage market. There are few banks out there that turn money into more money as well as JPMorgan Chase does.